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Governor Raimondo will continue to deem gun stores “essential” businesses

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There has been a spike in gun sales and that is exactly why I’ve signed an executive order to extend the amount of time that public safety officers can have to complete the background check.”


Thoughts Prayer Action, a gun safety youth group, asked that Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo close gun stores and declare them “non-essential” in response to what they call an “alarming” increase in gun sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Raimondo addressed the group’s concern during her daily press briefing on Wednesday.

“So it’s a great group and I appreciate the question. I have decided and most likely will continue to decide to keep them open,” said Governor Raimondo in response “Though I’ll take a look at what you send. There has been a spike in gun sales and that is exactly why I’ve signed an executive order to extend the amount of time that public safety officers can have to complete the background check. It used to be seven days and we’ve expanded that. So I want Rhode Islanders to feel secure that these background checks are happening and we’re giving [local] police and the State Police the time they need to to conduct the background checks.”

Thoughts Prayer Action had asked the Governor to:

  • Temporarily close gun stores, which must be deemed “non-essential” during this crisis. If stores are open, ensure that they follow the strictest social-distancing guidelines in all of their operations and that they provide every purchaser with a gun safety fact sheet with information about safe storage and resources for mental health support.
  • Take action to prohibit the sale or purchase of “ghost gun” parts and kits to lower the risk of exponential sales of unregulated and unserialized gun parts.
  • Ensure support for local organizations that serve people experiencing abuse or mental distress, and broadcast resources for people to get help if they are experiencing abuse or mental distress.

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com